EU Invests: MEUSAC continues to support applicants to garner funds

Article written by Rebecca Zammit – Executive, MEUSAC
Published in The Malta Independent – 22.11.19

We often hear of the several benefits that come with being an EU citizen. We can cross borders with ease, and wherever we reside in the EU we are guaranteed our fundamental rights and equality before the law.

To ensure that we have a European area for justice, and that equality and the rights of persons are promoted and protected everywhere in the Union, the EU invests in two funding programmes: the Justice Programme and the Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme (REC).

The Justice Programme
In practice, for this EU-wide access to rights to function, a deep commitment is required from Member States to coordinate with each other on judicial matters. As this is by no means an easy task, the European Commission is tasked with overseeing the development of the EU’s area of freedom, security and justice. For citizens, this area ensures that we have full access to justice, especially when we live, do business or face trial in another Member State.

With a budget of €378 million for the period 2014-2020, this programme aims to foster the principles of mutual recognition and mutual trust between Member States’ judicial systems.

The programme promotes judicial cooperation on civil and criminal matters, training of judges and legal practitioners, and citizens’ effective access to justice, including promoting the rights of victims of crime and procedural rights in criminal proceedings. It also promotes EU action to tackle drugs (judicial cooperation and crime prevention aspects).

To target these objectives, projects can make use of various types of activities, such as training, mutual learning and cooperation activities like the sharing of good practices, awareness-raising events, support for the main state actors involved in the areas, and analytical activities. The countries participating in the programme are all EU Member States (with the exception of the United Kingdom and Denmark), as well as Albania and Montenegro.

The Rights, Equality, and Citizenship Programme (REC)
As its name suggests, the REC Programme contributes to further the development of a European area where equality and the rights of persons, as enshrined in the EU Treaty, the Charter of Human Rights and international human rights conventions, are promoted, protected and effectively implemented.

With a budget of €439 million for the period 2014 – 2020, REC has a wide range of objectives and areas that it targets. Amongst others, it seeks to promote non-discrimination, combat racism, xenophobia, homophobia and other forms of intolerance and promote rights of persons with disabilities.

REC projects vary in nature; they can involve staff trainings, workshops, awareness-raising activities and conferences, support to the main state actors involved, and research activities. The countries participating in REC include all the EU Member States, Iceland, and Liechtenstein, with the latter participating only in projects targeting non-discrimination, intolerance, the rights of persons with disabilities and equality between women and men.

In 2016 MEUSAC assisted the Ministry for Social Dialogue, Consumer Affairs and Civil Liberties (now the Ministry for European Affairs and Equality), to apply for a REC project targeting violence against women, entitled ‘Full Cooperation: Zero Violence’. With a budget of €350,000, the project strengthened cooperation between professionals across various sectors who come into contact with victims of gender-based violence, enabling them to respond to violence against women more effectively. Some of the results of the project were a training programme and a manual of procedures for professionals, and a nation-wide public awareness campaign. Therefore, using REC funding, Malta could upgrade the service and protection it gives to victims of gender-based violence.

Common Aspects of both programmes
The programmes operate through calls for proposals that open at different periods during the year. Each call specifies factors such as the call’s objectives, the eligible actions, and the results projects should produce.  In many cases, projects under these two programmes need to be transnational in nature – meaning that they have to involve the participation of entities from different participating countries of the programmes.

Eligible entities for the calls of these two programmes must be legally constituted public or private organisations, or international organisations.

Information session
To provide more information on both the Justice and the REC Programmes, MEUSAC will organise an information session on November 26, 2019 at The Meeting Place in Marsa.

During this information session, MEUSAC will be providing information about the scope of the two programmes, their application process, and a success story of a REC project.

For more information on this information session or on EU funding, send us an e-mail on funding.meusac@gov.mt, or call on 2200 3300.

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